The B1G Week 11 Review has action galore this week. Ohio State sent out a statement with another dominant offensive display in a week where all the Big Ten title challengers won. The title race in the East is on a collision course with Michigan State-Ohio State and Ohio State-Michigan in the next 2 weeks. In the West, Wisconsin have the momentum but are tied at the top with early season pace-setters Iowa.
Long live attacking football! What a display on offense from both Purdue and Ohio State – 90 points and over 1100 yards were put on the board! The ‘Spoilermakers’ were eyeing up a 3rd big upset of the season having taken down Iowa and Michigan State, and the Buckeyes will have been very wary entering the contest. We knew there would be points, it was just a case of how even the scoreboard would be down the stretch.
The Buckeyes were lights out in the first half, storming to a 35-7 lead at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. Ohio State scored points on every 1st half possession with TreVeyon Henderson and Garrett Wilson cashing in big time.
Henderson scored his 2nd and Ohio State’s 3rd touchdown with an electric 57 yard run. He appeared to be continuously accelerating, getting faster and faster the longer the run went on. The Purdue defenders had no chance of catching him and looked like they were running through treacle in comparison.
Wilson Goes Bananas
Garrett Wilson has been poised for a massive game all year, and this was it. One of the best wide receivers in all of college football, Wilson should be a first round NFL pick. He scored 4 total TDs and showed off his incredible athleticism and versatility against the Purdue secondary. CJ Stroud has the best wide receiver trio in college at his disposal. Stroud utilised Wilson, Smith-Njigba and Olave to the tune of 5 touchdowns in a pretty flawless performance from the young QB. He led the Buckeyes to a 45-17 halftime lead, but the Boilermakers weren’t going to lie down and wave the white flag.
Aidan O’Connell picked apart the Ohio State defense, throwing 390 yards and 4 touchdowns as Purdue chased the game. O’Connell clearly has a favourite target in David Bell (of course, he’s incredible!) but spread the ball around on Saturday. Milton Wright caught a TD and registered nearly 100 yards while #33 Jackson Anthop was the biggest redzone beneficiary, hauling in 2 TDs.
Unfortunately for Purdue they just couldn’t stem the flow of points on defense. Ohio State had 11 possessions and were only halted once. They scored on 9 of drives, punted just once and knelt down to end the game but even then had made their way inside the redzone. This Buckeye offense is scary!
Penn State opened this game with a field goal thanks to a fake punt where kicker Jordan Stout converted an 18 yard pass to keep the drive alive. In a game of fine margins where points would be a rarity, stealing a possession was a huge early win for the Nittany Lions. Penn State’s start got even better as they forced a Michigan punt and then went down the field inside the Wolverine 10. On 4th down James Franklin lined up the field goal unit but called another trick play, looking for a touchdown. This time Stout couldn’t convert the play and they left 3 simple points on the field.
After a slow start, Michigan’s offense grew into the game. Hassan Haskins took on the lead back role with Blake Corum out, pounding the rock a season-high 31 times. Against a tough run defense Haskins impressed with 156 yards but no touchdown for only the 3rd time all season. The Wolverines were hunting on defense too. Aidan Hutchinson tallied 3 sacks and 3 tackles for loss as Michigan gave the Penn State offensive line more than they could handle. Sean Clifford was sacked 7 times and was harassed all day long.
A Slim Lead For ONce
Without a successful run game (again) Clifford did manage to get his team a lead with about 6 minutes left with a drive that ended in a 31 yard field goal. 17-14 and the onus on Michigan. The drive started with 5 consecutive Haskins rush attempts, working the ball just over halfway. John Harbaugh called a pass play on the next snap and Erick All ran a shallow crosser. McNamara picked him out and suddenly All had the freedom of Beaver Stadium, galloping down the right sideline for a 47 yard touchdown.
Penn State had their own shot to win the game but couldn’t move the ball at all. Michigan shut them down, slammed the door shut and took the win home with them.
Michigan State put last week’s disappointment behind them to beat the Maryland Terrapins. The Spartans still control their own destiny – if they win out against Ohio State and Penn State they will be in the conference championship game. They looked fully focussed on Saturday, scoring a 52 yard flea-flicker touchdown on their opening drive and never relinquishing the lead.
Kenneth Walker III had another impressive outing with 30 touches for 143 yards and 2 TDs. His first, from the 1 yard line gave Michigan State a 27-7 lead and seemingly an element of control on the game. Taulia Tagovailoa had other ideas and replied instantly, cutting the lead to 13 at halftime. Getting the ball to start the second half, Maryland began brightly, moving the ball deep into Michigan State territory. Noah Harvey made sure the Terrapins didn’t make any further progress, picking off Tagovailoa at the 1 yard line and halting the momentum Maryland were building.
Baby Tua was able to move the ball pretty well against a porous Spartans defense, but the Terps came away with 0 points from drives that stalled at the MSU 16, 23, 24 and 39. 4 possessions progressing to good positions, but nothing to show for it. That’s really where this game was won and lost. Maryland need another win for bowl eligibility while Michigan State now set their sights on Columbus.
Iowa came out on top of a back-and-forth matchup with Minnesota. Alex Padilla got the start at QB and immediately raised the ceiling of this Hawkeye offense. He is moving the ball, making deep passess and has basically shaken off the Spencer Petras shackles that held Iowa back.
Iowa got the first touchdown of the day in the 2nd quarter after a fantastic Charlie Jones catch set them up at the 5. Jones absolutely flew through the air to catch Padilla’s deep pass with his fingertips. Padilla punched the ball into the endzone on a QB sneak for his first career touchdown. Minnesota responded with a bold call on 4th down. The Golden Gophers decided to go for it on 4th and 2 but faked the hand off. Instead, backup QB Cole Kramer found tight end Ko Kieft who had snuck out of coverage after a delayed run-block. Kieft had open field in front of him, but looked like he might trip himself up on every step towards the end zone! He made it and tied the score at 10, but only just!
Locking Horns Once More
Minnesota added a field goal before Charlie Jones cashed in his own touchdown for Iowa early in the 3rd. Jones left the covering defender flat-footed with a double move that left him open for a 72 yard sprint for the score. True freshman Keagon Johnson then showed fantastic strength to stretch Iowa’s lead to 8 points. He caught a quick pass behind the line of scrimmage and was wrapped up quickly, but managed to shake off the would-be tacklers and scuttle down the left touchline for just his 2nd TD of the year.
The Golden Gophers needed the next score and got it. Chris Autman-Bell recovered from injury to play in this game and made his mark to bring Minnesota right back into it. He ran a beautiful inside-outside double move to get separation down the right touchline and raced home for a 68 yard score. 22-24 with 5 minutes left. Unfortunately they then handed Iowa 3 points and were forced to burn their timeouts as they turned the ball over on downs at their own 3 yard line. Tanner Morgan got 1 more chance but with just 39 seconds on the clock, the lack of timeouts told as Minnesota ran out of time.
Wisconsin had a game plan. Northwestern knew the game plan. Heck, we all knew the game plan! Knowing what the opposition are going to do should give you an advantage in your preparation, but only if you can do something about it! Braelon Allen led Wisconsin’s assault on the Northwestern end zone, tallying 3 touchdowns and 189 total yards. Northwestern just couldn’t halt the freshman’s momentum as Allen kept the Badgers on course for a shot at the West title. The 17 year old had no problem handling an increased workload in the absence of Chez Mellusi and had defenders bouncing off him all game!
Wisconsin have given themselves a chance to redeem the season after a terrible 1-3 start. On a 6 game win streak, if the Badgers beat Nebraska and Minnesota they will play for the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis. The defense is a key factor in engineering this opportunity. The Badgers managed 4 interceptions and didn’t allow an offensive touchdown (Northwestern scored their only points on a defensive fumble recovery.) The Wisconsin recipe for success sprinkles play action passing into a base mixture of stout defense and pounding the rock. It is working a treat and a lacklustre Northwestern team were swept aside with ease.
Rutgers find themselves on the cusp of a bowl game after a fantastic display against Indiana. The Scarlet Knights forced 6 turnovers and locked the door to the end zone in a brilliant win, propelling them to 5-5. 1 more win against either Penn State or Maryland and Greg Schiano’s men will be bowl-eligible for the first time since 2014.
The pick of the turnovers was a brilliant over-the-shoulder catch by Max Melton. Indiana QB Jack Tuttle arced a pass over his receiver and Melton, heading towards his own goalline, plucked the ball out of the air on the stretch. It was one of a number of things that went wrong for the Hoosiers in a highly disappointing season. Entering the year ranked at #17 the problems and the losses have piled up. On the very first play of the game the exchange to the running back was botched and Rutgers pounced. Isaiah Pacheco cashed in for 6 on the next snap and led the Scarlet Knights to victory with a solid rushing performance.
The moment of the game belonged to offensive tackle Raiqwon O’Neal. The big guy got himself a touchdown – and not one of those ‘run it in from 1 yard’ TDs either! Noah Vedral took the snap and set off to the right, before halting his run and throwing a lateral pass back to the left. O’Neal caught the ball and rumbled his way towards the end zone, diving for the pylon and just about getting in! Style points for the Scarlet Knights to cap off a great team performance.
Written by Jack @JackCDCTT